Last week I had the privilege of once again being part of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) “Clergy Call for Justice” event in Washington DC. We spent our time getting updates on opinion polls and legislative strategy, networking with other clergy and faith leaders and being inspired by speakers, prayer and worship. On Tuesday we all trekked up to Capitol Hill for a press conference and then lobby visits with our representatives and senators urging their support for pending LGBT equality legislation.
Some highlights for me from this year’s Clergy Call:
One was getting to spend some time with long-time friend and newly elected Integrity President Caro Hall. Caro is stepping in to fill the unexpired term of David Norgard and I know that she’s going to do a great job, bringing her years of commitment to equality to her work with Integrity. I appreciated the chances in-between the meetings and events to hear about her ideas and vision for “what nexts” for Integrity’s work within the Episcopal Church and our witness to the wider Communion and culture.
Another was encountering in a whole variety of ways connections with folks and All Saints Church.
• From the clergy at the HRC Clergy Call who follow us on the website and in the news and wish their congregations were as bold about LGBT issues toIt was such a delight to see the Episcopal Church putting faith into action in so many different ways – and to see what a strong, influential voices All Saints has in speaking out and up for love, justice and compassion.
• Dr. Welton Gaddy who sent love and blessings for our June 26 “Faith Shared” event to
• Broderick Greer, the young man from West Tennessee who recognized me in the lobby at the Senate office building from our podcasts (he never misses a sermon!) and who was on the Hill lobbying for peace in the Middle East before starting seminary this fall to
• Washington Bishop John Chane who was out on the corner outside the Capitol demonstrating for the release of the Bishop of Jerusalem while the Israeli Prime Minister spoke to congress.
Finally, on Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to meet with our congressman Adam Schiff and other constituents who were in Washington for a variety of reasons. We had breakfast on Wednesday morning in the congressman’s office with folks there to lobby for health care, for special education funding and for air traffic controllers … along with a Pasadena family with three daughters on vacation.
We had the chance to talk about this issues that brought us to the nation’s capital … to connect some of the dots between funding priorities and our hopes for the country. I was able to thank Congressman Schiff for being a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and he had some good questions about the Safe Schools/Anti-Bullying legislation we hope to see come to the House this session. And by the time we finished, I ran out of cards giving them to people who wanted to know more about All Saints Church.
It was a pretty intense couple of days but what a privilege to get to do this work with a boatload of amazing people as we work together to make God’s love tangible and give witness to the power of voices of faith united in commitment to love, justice and compassion.